Bear Creek Nature Park: Hike, Explore, Play, Refresh

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

img_6681

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” Those words of John Muir fit my exploration of Bear Creek Nature Park last Friday afternoon. The temperature hovered just above the single digits, strong winds rustled dry oak leaves, and long-missing brilliant sunshine made snow sparkle.

Bear Creek is a publicly accessible 107-acre park that has been managed by the Parks and Recreation Commission of the Charter Township of Oakland since 1977. Parking permits are not required. There are no bears at Bear Creek, and Bear Creek is not a wilderness by any means, but the landscape has a rich history of farming and cattle grazing going back to European settlement in 1827. Continue reading

Go Hike! Celebrate National Trails Day

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

IMG_7495
There is something soothing about hiking purely for pleasure. Saturday, June 4th, is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, the country’s largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events take place across the nation, on trails of all sorts, including water trails.

The American Hiking Society states that in addition standard hiking, the day celebrates biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, bird watching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, and stewardship projects.

Michigan has thousands of miles of trails, with hundreds of miles of trails in Oakland County. Many Oakland County trails are family friendly and suitable for all ages. Continue reading

Oakland County’s Paint Creek Trail: Michigan’s First Rails-to-Trails Project

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

IMG_7376

A light drizzle did not slow the Spring Charity Bike Ride on the Paint Creek Trail.

Cyclists, joggers, trail-trekkers and baby-carriage pushing parents flocked to the Paint Creek Trail on the first warm weekend of May. The trail opened in 1983 as the first rails-to-trails project in the State of Michigan, and today it remains one of the most popular multi-use trails in Oakland County.

The trail runs north from the City of Rochester to the Village of Orion, an 8.9 mile route built eight-foot wide with crushed limestone on a former Penn Central Railway bed. Its route embraces the banks of Paint Creek, a cold water trout steam. The trail has multiple access points and excellent signage. It meanders through woodlands, past wetlands and patches of prairie, while offering a tempting taste of the Wilder Side of Oakland County. Continue reading